They are tasked with managing and leading their provision, ensuring that policies are maintained and their staff team follows correct procedures. In addition, they are expected to continually adapt their provision to meet the ever-changing Government Early Year’s agenda.
Consequently, managers have many key areas that need to be developed, implemented and monitored, for example:
• Making sure that the environment consistently provides exciting learning opportunities that meet the needs of the children.
• Keeping an updated overview of children’s development so that they have a clear awareness of the progress they make from their starting points.
• Ensuring that children who are working below their age related expectations are quickly identified and given appropriate support to make rapid progress.
• Building partnerships with parents and other professionals to effectively support all children’s learning and development.
• Undertaking staff supervisions to effectively build on their professional development and raise the quality of teaching.
If only this was all. What about the day to day routines, administration, staff absences and challenges that need urgent attention? It goes without saying that time is precious. Managers often state that their biggest challenge is time and therefore there is a struggle to complete all tasks and ensure their provision is consistently of high quality.
Sadly there is no magic wand! However, with a SMART approach to planning across the year you can be well prepared, ahead of the game and feel in control. This will allow you to have time to reflect on current practice and become the inspirational leader/manager that you strive to be. Below are some top tips that can help steer opportunity for your reflection.
Top tips for reflection:
1. Establishing a positive culture:
• Vision and values should be developed with the whole team
• Develop, build and embed a culture of well-being throughout your provision
• Encourage a mind-set that sees failure and mistakes as opportunities for learning
• Know your teams’ strengths, expertise and what motivates them.
2. Think strategically:
• An annual planner helps identify pinch points throughout the year
• A positive attitude to change can provide you with the ability to reflect on previous experiences, evaluate progress and make decisions so you can plan for the year ahead
• The manager should have a plan that is shared with the team.
• Do not just complete your favourite tasks as the other tasks may hinder progress
• Develop short, medium and long term procedures and contingency plans to meet demands
• Tasks need to be achievable within a time frame
• Work smarter not harder.
• Managers need to involve and empower staff to take on extra responsibilities
• Supporting a ‘can do’ culture will make the team feel valued and useful.
• Monitor and review the progress of identified tasks to ensure they are moving towards satisfactory completion within a planned time frame
• It is important to involve the team so they have the opportunity to celebrate their contribution no matter how small.
If you find this blog thought provoking, you may want to read further about our unique training opportunity starting this October: Early Years Managers' Professional Development Annual Programme